By Duwayne Escobedo
President Donald Trump and his administration have declared war on the media. This war includes banning major news organizations critical of his presidency from a White House briefing, vowing to skip the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, and creating the terms “fake news” and “alternative facts” in its battle with the press.
The media establishment has fought back. The New York Times created a 30-second national ad, “The Truth is Hard,” that nearly 7.8 million have viewed on YouTube.
The escalating war between Trump and the media concerns the Temple Beth-El Chai Discussion Group that debated the issue Tuesday. About two dozen synagogue members showed up to the brown bag luncheon to weigh in with their opinions.
Marge Wein, a 95-year-old who once owned a Dothan radio station and has 17 great grandchildren, heads the Chai meetings. Wein, who started the Chai Discussion Group five years ago, said she worries about Freedom of Speech under Trump.
“He’s aiming for control of the media,” Wein said. “We’ve got to stop it. I’m terrified by it.”
Steve Deitch agreed with Wein on the threats to the media.
“When you have a bully pulpit like the White House delegitimizing the press or excluding influential voices it is very worrisome,” he said.
Terence Gross, a local attorney, admitted as a Trump supporter, he has a hard time defending the president. But he supports Trump’s mocking of protesters.
“You’re a liberal and I’m a conservative but I’m pro-First Amendment,” Gross said. “But many of the marchers I saw were committing criminal acts.”
Gross also backed Trump on his actions against CNN. “He’s right. It’s not news. It’s anti-Trump.”
Jerry Gordon said “social media is a plague.” “Most news people get these days doesn’t come from news outlets it comes from social media. They do not check the facts.”
Amanda Nissim, a former news producer, also blamed Americans for over relying on cell phones for information.
“I’ve sat and watched Americans lose their minds,” she said. “We’re losing our critical thinking skills.”